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Beyond the mind-brain problem? The social implications of contemporary neuroscience

12 oct 2015 17:00

Institut d’études avancées de Paris,
Hôtel de Lauzun, 17 quai d’Anjou,
75004 Paris




Philosophers have been debating the mind-brain or mind-body problem for centuries. While few neuroscientists claim to know how to bridge the ‘explanatory gap’ between mental events and brain processes, many would agree with Vernon Mountcastle that “what makes man human is his brain… Things mental, indeed minds, are emergent properties of brains.” (Mountcastle, 1998).  Despite unresolved philosophical issues, neurobiologists have proposed new brain based explanations for normal and abnormal mental states and processes, and have invented new technologies - from brain computer interfaces to humanized robots - for simulating, reading and manipulating the human brain.  In this talk I will consider some of these developments and explore their implications.  While there is much to criticize in the exaggerated claims often made for contemporary neurobiology, I will ask whether, beyond critique, these developments offer some new opportunities for collaboration between the life sciences and the social and human sciences.

Nikolas Rose is Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at Kings College London. He was trained as a biologist before switching to psychology and then to sociology. He is founder and co-editor of BioSocieties and as published widely on the social and political history of the human sciences, on the genealogy of subjectivity, and on changing rationalities and techniques of political power. His most recent books include Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind (written with Joelle Abi-Rached, 2013), Governing The Present (written with Peter Miller, 2008) and The Politics of Life Itself : Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century (2006). He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Society and Ethics Division of the Human Brain Project, Chair of the Neuroscience and Society Network,  was previously a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, and is  a member of the Science Policy Advisory Group of the Royal Society.



Conférence de Nikolas Rose, professeur de sociologie et directeur du département de Sciences Sociales, Santé et Médecine du King's College de Londres, à l'IEA de Paris.
12 Oct 2015 17:00
Talks and lectures
Contemporary period (1789-…)
World or no region